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First World Problems

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/11/2015 Barry David Kluger
CRUISES © Mitch Diamond via Getty Images CRUISES

Dateline-November 12, 2015-Somewhere off the coast of Oman-Yes, I know it's exotic but I will tell you, the importance and opportunity of such a trip is not lost on me. My wife and I work hard for it. And when you work hard, you want to play hard... or at least get out of your comfort zone. I know what you are saying: it costs a lot of money to take an exotic trip. Well, that is not always the case. In fact, it is, quite often, just the opposite. So it begs the questions: why don't we push ourselves to the limit?
I was enjoying a cigar with a fellow American from Portland, Washington who told me it was amazing: he met someone from Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Croatia and China. The look on his face as he described how a "guy from a small town is sitting having a drink with someone from halfway across the globe and expanding his horizons," was amazing to hear.
It doesn't take scratch to learn. Nothing against Disney or Cancun but we often seek the comfortable, the easy or worse, the complacency in not exposing our children to different worlds and different cultures. The amalgam of countries at Disney World in Orlando doesn't make one a world traveler. Stumbling one's way through Spanish or Italian at a café doesn't necessarily carry a price tag.
Ok. Let me break it out for you, Americans. And I can only do that because I am one. I'm not a Brit, a Croat, an Aussie, a Mexican nor an Israeli, all people I have met in the past 5 days. Take a family of four to Disney World. You'll pay a moderate amount of money with your tickets, your food, your trinkets, your booze. Your kids will eat cotton candy and corn dogs and take away nothing in the way of mind expansion. Granted, when kids are of a certain age, they don't give a hoot or holler about ancient castles or penguins. Well, maybe not castles.
Start small. For that money, the same family can go on a land tour, a cruise, in the United States or somewhere else. This is not about me spending your dough and telling you where to travel. Ok. Maybe it is, a bit.
An embarrassingly small percentage of Americans have a passport. Applying for one doesn't make you spend money you don't have. It makes you able to open the door to experiences you may not have otherwise.
And you don't have to necessarily leave the US. We have amazing parks, cities like Boise or New Orleans or Santa Fe. "Hey Kids. We're going to Cleveland!" "Cleveland?" "Yes. The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is there." See? Was that so hard?
All I am saying here is if you live in Arizona, Rocky Point, Mexico is not going out of the country. It's getting in the car for three hours for more of the same.
So, where to go on your next vacation? Search the Internet. There are deals and destinations you only dreamt of and they are well within your reach. A poll came out in USA Today that with all of our innovation and inventions, the US is 17th in the world in Internet access. 17th! I am afraid to see where we stand in education, though we all know it.
I am about to dock shortly in a Muslim country. And be exposed to new experiences. Compare that to a water slide and... well, there's no comparison.
We are a great country because we seek knowledge. My parents sought it and passed it on to me. We owe it to the next generation to do the same.

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